The club’s new manager, Maurizio Sarri, will be keen to start his spell at Juventus with the right tone by getting acquainted with his players during pre-season – both off and on the pitch.
Juventus’ first visit to Singapore since 2014 will present an excellent warm-up for Sarri before he heads home to Italy for his real baptism of fire with the Old Lady.
2018/2019 Season Summary
Death, taxes, and Juventus clinching the Serie A. The only constant may be change, but Juventus looks primed to challenge this adage.
They extended their Scudetto winning streak to an unprecedented eight years – seemingly strolling to the trophy with a comfortable lead in the Serie A table.
Juventus were so ahead of the rest of the pack that midway through the season, it is no exaggeration to say that Juventus began casting their focus on other competitions, namely the elusive Champions League trophy.
Last summer’s addition of Cristiano Ronaldo raised expectations of pulling off a Champions League coup since he was the catalyst of Real Madrid’s three successive Champions League trophies. Alas, they were disappointingly knocked out in the Quarter-Finals by the underdogs, Ajax.
The fact that Juventus were eliminated in the Coppa Italia Semi-Finals compounded the underwhelming nature of their campaign. But at this point of time, Juventus’ stranglehold and utter dominance of the Serie A is unquestionable, and the league campaign itself feels almost like a formality to hand the accolade to them.
Much like Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in France, domestic trophies can no longer sate the growing restlessness amongst their army of supporters – the proverbial next step must be taken. In the eyes of the supporters of the Bianconeri, this will only be achieved with success on the continental stage.
Despite guiding Juventus to four consecutive domestic doubles (the Scudetto and Coppa Italia) from 2014 to 2018 – a feat that has never been done across the top 5 European Leagues – and despite being the winningest coach in Juventus’ club history, Massimiliano Allegri stepped down as coach.
After just one season with Chelsea, Maurizio Sarri agreed to a deal to take over Juventus even though his Chelsea squad placed a respectable third on the Premier League table last season and won the UEFA Europa League.
With mixed reactions from Juventus fans worldwide over his signing and with big shoes to fill, the former banker and ex-Napoli coach – who masterminded a scintillating brand of football with them – can only hope that he can replicate his philosophy seamlessly to the richly talented squad he is inheriting at Juventus.
Winning the Scudetto is absolutely a prerequisite. Only winning the Champions League will cement his job security and elevate his reputation as one of football’s finest coach.
Juventus’ Key Players: Cristiano Ronaldo and Giorgio Chiellini
He might be 34 years old now, but make no mistake, Cristiano Ronaldo is still a superstar. Sure, gone are the days where you find Ronaldo darting towards defenders at Olympic speed, dazzling the world with his nifty footwork. His combination of pace, trickery, and guile befuddled the best football defenders, and Ronaldo was often viewed as a trump card to winning matches.
His athleticism has gradually waned, and his goalscoring exploits have dwindled this past season. But his body of work does not lie. With age, he has added terrific spatial awareness to his game – such as knowing where to position himself in the field to bag goals – and he can still leap higher than almost every other defender in the game.
Like vintage wine, Ronaldo has aged gracefully. He might even be the second coming of Benjamin Button.
With 28 goals and 13 assists in 43 appearances, it might be far from the contributions he gave during the acme of his powers, but these are statistics that would be lauded as a breakout or even a career-defining season for regular footballers.
But Cristiano Ronaldo is no regular footballer – he is an all-time stellar player. He still pulls through in the clutch, such as the hat-trick he had against Atletico Madrid to complete an astonishing 3-2 comeback. Although he still behaves petulantly when things do not go his way and sulks like a bratty kid, he is a cornerstone piece to Juventus’ attack, and he plays an instrumental role in this talented Juventus squad.
At the heart of the defence is lynchpin Giorgio Chiellini. The imperious Italian, who is widely regarded as one of the world’s premier defenders, is the captain of Juventus and he is in every sense of the word, a true leader amongst men. Often, you will see the Italian marshalling his defensive line and galvanising the players around him. Even at the age of 34 (going 35 this year), he remains a brilliant centre-back, and any trophies earned by the club will likely credit Chiellini as the fulcrum of the team.
Positions of need for Juventus
Juventus have gone through an extremely busy, but tremendously productive transfer window; the club has been recruiting various players and shedding away dead weights in their squad.
The most notable purchases include box-to-box midfielder Aaron Ramsey, and the free acquisition of club legend and arguably the greatest goalkeeper to ever strap on a pair of gloves: Gianluigi Buffon.
But they are not done.
There have been strong rumours of Paul Pogba re-joining Juventus, and the club has expressed their interest in re-signing the enigmatic Frenchman. It remains to be seen whether there will be a concrete deal being offered by Juventus to Manchester United. They might also look into reinforcing their forward line as well – with alleged interest in Inter Milan’s Icardi swirling around.
Regardless of whether Pogba or Icardi joins Juventus, their squad looks fortified and robust on all fronts, and they are primed to strengthen their iron fist in the Serie A.
Going head to head with Tottenham
Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur have only played against each other twice; both games were played in the knockout stages of the Champions League’s 2017/2018 season.
Juventus edged out that matchup by an aggregate score of 4-3.
There have not been many notable transfers between both clubs in the past, though there have been speculations of Juventus’ interest in acquiring Spurs’ buccaneering right-back Kieran Trippier and midfield extraordinaire Christian Eriksen.
Photos courtesy of International Champions Cup Singapore and Jannes Glas.